LG Optimus G Android Smartphone Review

31 thumbs up
Although it's already flooded with a slew of excellent devices, the smartphone market has shown no signs of letting up. While Samsung and Apple are dominating the charts in terms of global hardware market share, Android's continued rise in the smartphone space has also been bolstered by devices from companies like HTC, Sony, and LG. In fact, LG was the company chosen to produce the most recently released Nexus-branded smartphone, the powerful Nexus 4.


The Optimus G that we're reviewing here has a lot in common with the Nexus 4, and it's impossible to evaluate this handset without drawing direct comparisons to its Google branded sibling. Before we break down the specifics, let's look at the internals found in one of AT&T's most powerful smartphones yet.

LG Optimus G
Specifications & Features
Network
AT&T and Sprint available
Bands/Modes
850/1900/2100 MHz (3G-UMTS); 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
(GSM/GPRS/EDGE); 4G HSPA+; HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul; Band 4 and 17 (4G LTE)
OS
Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Display
4.7-inch 1280x768 WXGA True HD IPS Plus
scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass
2
Processor
Quad core 1.5GHz Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
Memory
2 GB of RAM
16 GB internal memory
microSD expansion slot (16 GB included)

Usage Time
10 Hours Reported Talk Time; 13.5 Hours Standby
Dimensions
 5.15 x 2.82 x 0.33 inches
Weight
5.19 ounces
Battery
2100mAh Battery (Sealed)
Connectivity
Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n, Mobile Hotspot (up to 8 connections), NFC, microUSB, MHL, DLNA 1.5, aGPS, 3.5mm headset jack,
Camera
8 MP rear facing camera with LED flash
1.3 MP (720p) front facing camera

Price
$199.99 with 2-year contract ($549.99 off-contract)

If you weren't aware, the Optimus G was the first commercially available smartphone to use Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC (APQ8064) paired with an LTE radio. That's a 1.5GHz quad-core chip, inside a smartphone. That's about as cutting edge as it gets right now, and when you consider the beefy 2GB of RAM and Adreno 320 GPU, it's pretty clear that the bar is set high.

From the onset, however, we're somewhat bothered by the stock operating system. Android 4.0.4 is now two full point releases behind the latest iterations of Android; Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is already available on select devices. But will the omission of things like Google Now and things like LG's own Android skin put a damper on those powerful technical specifications? That's what we plan to find out in the pages ahead.
 

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This is one BORNING looking phone, completely square, flat, with a Kevlar backing ripped off of Motorola

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@sevaggs - are you shopping for a phone, or a chrome-covered jacked-up 4x4 pickup? Does the phone have to actually work, or are you just going to use it to impress idiots with its looks?

 

And to the author: "if you tilt the screen at a more extreme angle, you'll notice a subtle discoloration. Whites turn a slight off-white, almost yellow, and based on the information we have available, this issue seems to be uniform across these devices. It's not a huge issue until you tilt the screen at fairly extreme angles, but most other devices don't have the same issue. For a flagship phone, it's fairly disheartening to see such an obvious weak spot in the panel."

Who's going to do that in normal use? This is not an "antennagate" issue, it's something that no one would ever have a problem with if they were using their device like everyone else uses theirs. Do you frequently lay your LCD TV down on its back, and then watch it at an extreme angle? That's the same kind of thing - and will get you similar results.


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its not kevlar, its glass.

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I was wary of getting this phone for a few reasons.

-My previous experience with LG cell phones was limited to a flip phone several years ago, which became next to useless after ~9 months.

-I hadn't heard people talk about LG cell phones since the Chocolate.

-LG makes smartphones?

I was upgrading from a Samsung Infuse 4G (think Galaxy S with a larger screen, HSPA+, and less support and accessories). I liked the big screen (still bigger than the iPhone) and the microSD slot of the Infuse; I did not like the slow pace of OS updates from Samsung, and the cheap-feeling back cover.

I had been looking at the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X+ before reading about the Optimus G (and it's brother, the Nexus 4). While the speed and feel of the One X+ was very nice, and I've never heard a bad thing from friends with other HTC models, I didn't like that I couldn't expand the storage (although 64 GB built in is impressive). While the GS3 has sold like an iPhone (therefore would have support from Samsung and/or the rooting and modding community, not to mention cases and accessories), and it has a large screen and expandable storage, it felt cheap to me with it's flimsy plastic back (much like the Infuse), and the AT&T version only packs a dual-core CPU. While an easily replaceable battery is nice, I haven't had a problem with dead batteries in electronics since my 3rd gen iPod.

Now to sell the Optimus G. I've had it for about a week now, and I love it. It originally caught my eye due to it's technical specs: 4.7" 720p (approx) display, quad-core CPU, 2 GB RAM, etc. I'm a little annoyed that the AT&T version has an 8MP back camera (vs. 13MP of most other Optimus G models), but I do like the flat, flush back panel that the 8MP camera allows, and the AT&T model is the only Optimus G model with a microSD slot. What I didn't realize until I've had it for awhile, and now one of my favorite things about it, is it's fit and finish. While I don't doubt that Samsung makes quality phones, the GS3 doesn't feel as nice as this. The Optimus G looks and feels like an expensive, high-quality device. While I will be putting it in a case, I REALLY don't want to - it looks that good. It does feel a bit slippery without a case, though, and I do want to protect it.

Downsides? It still has Ice Cream Sandwich - LG needs to get that Jelly Bean update out ASAP. Also, since it probably won't sell as well as the iPhone and GS3, case selection will be limited, and support from the mod/root community won't be as extensive (if that's your thing).

In short, this phone is awesome - it's fast, it's easy to use, and DAMN it looks good. Get it.

PS: for best deal of the Optimus G, I suggest check at: Androidphonegreatdeals.blogspot.com/p/lg-optimus-g.html

Enjoy!

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I like the design, and the power, but I feel like it's falling short in some area's that I personally would enjoy. It could have a little higher screen resolution like some of the newer phones coming out, the battery life is just down right horrible, I couldn't expect this thing to last through a typical workday without plugging it in.

The camera seems to be about average, maybe a little above average with the available software to help the image look a little better. The screen size is a little big for me, I like the smaller screens, I think the iphone 5 at 4" is plenty for me, however I've never actually owned a phone bigger than that, so my opinion isn't from experience.

Not a bad phone overall though, I'll have to have my wife check it out, she might like it. She's still telling me everyday she wants a Note II, but doesn't want a huge screen.

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Why is this phone SO much more powerful than the Google Nexus 4 when they are essentially the same phone with a few minor differences????

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acarzt:

Why is this phone SO much more powerful than the Google Nexus 4 when they are essentially the same phone with a few minor differences????

Not sure about the power but I've heard the Nexus 4 has heat issues.

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digitaldd:

acarzt:

Why is this phone SO much more powerful than the Google Nexus 4 when they are essentially the same phone with a few minor differences????

Not sure about the power but I've heard the Nexus 4 has heat issues.

Mine does get quite hot... but it doesn't appear to have caused any problems for me... yet

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Hey Acarzt; it is a quad core processor phone, has more memory, and I am pretty sure a higher memory bandwidth internally as well. Oh and an enhanced GPU as well!

 

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rapid1:

Hey Acarzt; it is a quad core processor phone, has more memory, and I am pretty sure a higher memory bandwidth internally as well.

Yep, and the benchmark scores on this phone are crazy.

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